Whipped cream frosting is light and refreshing and not too sweet. In this tutorial I’ll show you how to make it stable enough for piping and for smooth frosting on cakes. I'll also share how to store it and how to fix it if anything goes wrong!
What is stabilized whipped cream?
To frost or pipe with whipped cream you'll need it to hold its shape. Different ingredients can be added to whipped cream to stabilize it including cream cheese and sugar. My favourite combination is gelatin and powdered sugar or icing sugar. The sugar adds a bit of sweetness to the cream but doesn't make it nearly as sweet as other frostings like my 4 Minute Buttercream. Gelatin thickens the cream so you can pipe textured details that will hold their shape for days.
How to make stabilized whipped cream frosting
To make stabilized whipped cream frosting, the key ingredient is gelatin. Mix it with cold water until there are no big lumps but it will still be very grainy. Leave it to rest, called blooming, while you start on the whipped cream.
It’s best to chill your mixing bowl and whisk in the fridge, which will give you the thickest whipped cream. Pour heavy whipping cream or double cream into the mixing bowl and add powdered sugar or icing sugar and vanilla.
Whip the cream using a speed no more than 4 if you’re using a stand mixer. This allows you to watch the cream closely and don’t overmix it. After about 2 minutes you’ll notice that the cream looks thicker and a bit foamy around the edges. Stop mixing now.
Your gelatin should be a solid jelly now. This means it has bloomed and it will give you the smoothest whipped cream frosting.
Put it into the microwave for 10 seconds to make it liquid again and stir it until it’s smooth. It shouldn’t be hot but if it is, let it sit for a few minutes until it’s barely warm.
Start mixing your cream again, still only using speed 2 or 4. Very gradually pour the gelatin into the mixing bowl. By incorporating it gradually you'll avoid any lumps.
Keep whipping the cream for about another 2 minutes. You’ll see that the whisk is leaving very defined texture behind it. You'll know the whipped cream is ready if the texture doesn't sink back into the cream when you stop the mixer. If you drag a spatula through it, you should leave clear trails in the whipped cream. It should hold peaks when you pull the spatula up. If you take your whisk attachment off and hold it up, the peak should still point upwards. Look how gorgeously smooth and silky this is!
Why does my whipped cream look curdled or lumpy?
The most common challenge with whipped cream frosting is that the consistency isn’t right. Let's do some troubleshooting to fix these problems.
If you stop whipping the cream before it forms peaks, it won't be stiff enough to hold its shape. When you pipe or spread it onto cakes or cupcakes, it will droop or sink or slide off.
When whipped cream looks curdled and lumpy it’s either overmixed or there’s a problem with the gelatin.
If you mixed the cream for too long, add some more cream. Fold it in and the whipped cream should become smooth again.
As far as the gelatin, make sure you let it bloom after you mix it so that it becomes solid. Then remelt it and stir it so it’s smooth. Make sure it’s not hot when you add it to the cream and also make sure you add it slowly while the mixer is mixing. If you add it all at once when the mixer is turned off it will make the whipped cream lumpy. Even after scraping around the cake several times with a cake comb, the whipped cream frosting will not look smooth:
If that happens, I think the best solution is to frost the cake and then add some rustic texture. Press your offset spatula gently into the frosting and spin the cake, slowly pulling it up the cake. This will disguise the slightly uneven consistency of your whipped cream.
How to frost a cake with whipped cream
You can use this whipped cream to fill and frost cakes and cupcakes and you can also pipe with it. Once you’ve assembled your cake, cover it in a crumb coat. This is a very thin layer of frosting to trap any crumbs so that they don’t get into your final layer of frosting. Don’t worry about making this frosting very neat because you’re going to cover it up in a moment.
Spread the final layer of whipped cream frosting more thickly. Then scrape around the cake several times to get smooth, straight sides. Touch up any indents by spreading more whipped cream frosting over those areas and then scrape again.
Make sure you spread the frosting up above the top edge of the cake so that it sticks up. This way you’ll create sharp angles from the sides to the top of the cake.
How to pipe with whipped cream
This stabilized whipped cream is stiff enough to pipe borders and swirls and other details. The border around the bottom of this cake is a #32 open star tip. I used the same tip to pipe swirls onto the top of the cake. You can see all the definition of the texture in the piping because of the gelatin in the whipped cream, which makes the whipped cream frosting stiff enough to hold its shape.
How to store whipped cream
To store a cake frosted with whipped cream, put it in the fridge in an airtight container like a Tupperware. Cream absorbs the taste of anything else in the fridge so being airtight is important!
The cake will taste best about an hour after taking it out of the fridge as it comes to room temperature and gets softer. This is my Very Vanilla Cake with strawberry jam filling.
After slicing the cake, if you don’t finish it press cling film or Saran Wrap against the sliced cake. Push it gently into the frosting around the edges to secure it. Then put the cake back into the fridge.
Store any leftover whipped cream in airtight container in the fridge for 3 days.
I hope I’ve answered all of your questions about whipped cream frosting! If I didn’t, ask me in the comments!
Whipped cream frosting is light and refreshing and not too sweet. By stabilizing it you'll be able to frost a cake and pipe with it!
1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon gelatin
1 1/2cups heavy whipping cream or double cream
1/3cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the thickest whipped cream frosting, chill a metal mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the fridge for an hour before you start this recipe.
In a small bowl, whisk cold water and gelatin until there are no big lumps in it. It will still be very grainy. Set it aside.
Pour heavy whipping cream or double cream into your cold mixing bowl and add powdered sugar or icing sugar and vanilla. Whip the cream using the cold whisk attachment on medium low speed (no more than 4 if you’re using a stand mixer) for about 2 minutes. When the cream looks thicker and a bit foamy around the edges, stop mixing.
Your gelatin should be a solid jelly now. Microwave it for 10 seconds to make it liquid again and stir it until it’s smooth. If it feels warm, let it sit for a few minutes until it’s barely warm.
Start whipping your cream again, still only using speed 2 or 4. While the mixer is on, very gradually pour the gelatin into the mixing bowl. After about another 2 minutes you’ll see that the whisk is leaving very defined texture behind it, which doesn’t sink back into the cream even if you stop the mixer. It should be smooth and hold peaks on a spatula or whisk.
This recipe makes enough whipped cream frosting for a three-layer 4" cake or a two-layer 6 cake.
For a three-layer 6" cake or a two-layer 8" cake, double the recipe by clicking "X2" at the top right of the recipe.
You can store this whipped cream frosting in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days.